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Posts Tagged ‘funny’

Semi-autobiographical

I had a young student who lived in the Taipei equivalent of a mansion.  She didn’t like to be read to, but she loved being the teacher and leading me in activities that she would do in a normal school day.

This stick-figure collaboration came from an offshoot of “Writing Workshop” called, appropriately enough, “Making Books.”

The best part, I think, was when she actually sat still for the 2 minutes it took to read the book, and then we named all of the heads in the last picture.  It included her teacher Mr. Couch, her mom, dad, baby brother and herself, as well as her grandmother and maybe her aunt.

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Music

I bought an ocarina today.  There wasn’t really a reason other than how beautiful it was, but as I looked through the tiny song book that came with it, I found a song that I thought would make one of my friends laugh.  I came out to the landing of the hotel where I’m staying to use the computer, and what song should I hear drifting up from the lobby but “Dust in the Wind.”

That brought on a dose of instant nostalgia as I thought about fun times from high school tinged with the inescapable melancholy of the song, and it all mixed in with my feelings about leaving Taiwan.  I have less than 20 days before I go home and take on the next big phase of my life, which is one of the reasons I came to Jiufen for a little one day/one night vacation.  It’s lucky that Jiufen is so pretty or I’d probably be getting weepy right about now.

I’ll post pictures and more about the town itself when I get access to Bluetooth (tomorrow night when I get back home), but aside from the fact that all the stores are pretty much closed by 7:30, I have had a wonderful day in Jiufen and Jinguashi.  The weather held up nicely and the two towns are gorgeous, and where they’re not gorgeous, they’re excitingly twisty and mysterious.

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Level of discourse

Spam comments are getting more confrontational these days!  Check out this little gem from today’s garbage can:

The next time I learn a blog, I hope that it doesnt disappoint me as a lot as this one. I mean, I do know it was my choice to read, however I truly thought youd have something attention-grabbing to say. All I hear is a bunch of whining about something that you might fix should you werent too busy in search of attention.

I had thought my neighborhood was pretty green, but I guess there must be some blue folks around...

I also noticed something on the way to work that supports my argument.  There’s been a DPP poster up for a good long time, but yesterday morning, I saw that someone had blacked out the candidate’s tooth.  As I walked past later that same day, a group of schoolkids was going the other direction.  One boy almost fell over when he spotted it, he was so excited to tell his classmates!  All he could say was “Her tooth!  Hey, you guys, look at her tooth!”  No one cared but him.

It’s okay, kid, I’m with you.  It may not be mature or even very effective, but it’s funny.  Sometimes that’s all it takes.

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Out of the blue

On Wednesday nights, I teach a corporate class that really has me torn in two.  On the one hand, I usually have fun with the class, especially the three ladies.  On the other hand, the two gentlemen are way out of their depth and it’s hard to keep everyone learning without embarrassing the guys.

This Wednesday, the louder yet less skilled guy was on business in Hong Kong and that made it quite a bit easier.  The class proceeded pretty normally, ending in a discussion of favorite stars and celebrities.  At the very end, as we were packing up, the quiet guy who never asks his questions in English, but rather in Taiwanese (or Chinese, out of deference to me), suddenly began muttering to the “translator” of the class, a kind and bossy woman who I cannot stop from translating for the slower students.  She said, “Jason would like to ask a question,” and I looked straight at him so he would speak.

And the question knocked me for a loop: “India, 你們美國…..words…..words…..words…..黑人嗎?”  I couldn’t even parse it because it was so out of context, so I sat for a minute to make sense of it.  He was asking, apropos of nothing, about racism against black people.  I answered that it was getting better, but he went on to ask about whether we looked down on Asians, and all of it was just far too difficult to explain at his level.  I settled for saying that it’s mostly a problem of language.  If you sound American, you’re better off than if you don’t.  I also joked it up by mentioning how much people everywhere hate tourists.  Too light?

I love these kinds of conversations, but I wish he’d been at a level to really discuss it…

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Comedy of errors

Sundays are usually straightforward, but yesterday was the most complicated day I’ve had in a long while.  It started off well: I met my private 1-on-1 student on time and had a very informative conversation about civil law systems and common law systems, then went home to hang out for a bit.

Everything started to go wrong when I began to study my planned route to the hash in Sanxia.  My co-worker was resolved to go, and since he intends to buy my scooter and I wanted practice before I make my way to Jiufen by scooter, I thought we’d scooter there together, especially since I feel much more settled and comfortable on a scooter when I have someone on the back.  It seemed the national freeways didn’t allow scooters, but I wasn’t quite sure, so after consulting with him, we set off on the scooter.  We made it to Banqiao without problem, but then I asked a person beside us at a stoplight if we could go on the 3.  It was good I did, because my suspicions from earlier were true!

Sorry I have no pictures from this fiasco, but please enjoy this adorable bread from October.

After getting some ridiculously complicated–or just in Chinese too advanced for me–directions at a 7-11, I decided we should just go to Banqiao Station and take the train like the run’s organizers suggested.  At this point, we would have been only a little bit late, and my hopes were still high, but once we got off the train in Yingge, we couldn’t find a single taxi.  We walked down toward the center of the town, and when we finally found a taxi and hopped in, he kicked us out because he didn’t go where we were heading.  A gas station attendant recommended a bus, which we caught pretty quickly, but it was after 3pm by this point.  We quickly got a taxi, but we were supposed to follow flour from the freeway exit, and I couldn’t make that clear to the driver.  After trying to call a few people, we just had him take us back to Yingge, where we walked the pottery street and took a much needed break at a restaurant.

A bus brought us back to the MRT, and we parted ways as I went to pick up the scooter.  I thought I was safe, but no.  It had started raining while we were on the bus chatting about politics and such, so I got on my scooter a soggy mess.  I set off and had a strange problem with the engine just sputtering out.  Throttling up seemed to help, and so I proceeded until I mistakenly believed myself to be at the Sanchong bridge which would have taken me home the easy way.  I had missed the turn, so I started a long loop through some side streets and alleys where my scooter died for real.  An old man in front of a grocery store couldn’t really help, so he directed me to a scooter repair shop, which, it being Sunday, was closed.  I left it in a parking spot and trudged off to a bus stop.

The bright side?  The bus home went by Longshan Temple and I got a lead on a Christmas gift for one of my brothers.  Also, I saw a little bit of a traditional puppet show that was just puppets fighting each other to the clamor of cymbals and possibly live music.  It was part of a festival, and I’m totally going back before it ends.

And that was Sunday.

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Standing invitation

On Sunday, I intend to ride my scooter to Sanxia with my 9-foot-tall coworker riding pillion, and since I haven’t run that little machine in a good six months, I took it in for a check-up.  Since I wasn’t able to start it, I wasn’t surprised to find it needed a new battery, but I took care of that and got it washed and pumped up, all for just $850.

Since the washing took a bit of time, I was able to chat with the two mechanics, and as usual, answered a lot of questions about myself, especially since they see me basically every night as I walk home.  At one point, they broke into Taiwanese and I understood a bit.  When it became obvious I was sort of following, the conversation turned to speaking Taiwanese, whereupon I began bitching about the crazy difficulties.  The mechanic washing my scooter promptly shut me down by telling me that I just need to practice more.  As we finished the transaction, he invited me to stop by and practice any time.  How can I resist?

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Giggles

It was so much bigger in real life...

Halloween just passed, but let me show you a little picture of what greeted me in the stairwell a few days ago.  It was not fun and I definitely screamed a tiny bit.

Now, on an unrelated note, I’d like to talk about a strange mistake I’ve been hearing from my students more and more these last few weeks.  It really cracks me up because they sound like Gollum: clothes said as “clotheses” and eyes said as “eyeses.”  It’s definitely an understandable mistake, but it’s a new in my experience.  I wonder if there’s a TV show or personality who’s been doing this as a joke…

On that Gollum note, one of my highest level students also speaks German and is studying French right now, so she has a very peculiar accent.  When she talks about hobbies and habits, the words meld and twist until she’s talking about hobbits.  I wanted to let her keep saying it that way, but she works for the government and I thought it would just be too mean.

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